The Wilmington Hammerheads professional soccer team members are preparing to pass their knowledge to a younger generation of players. The Hammerheads soccer camp at Wrightsville Beach Park will begin Monday, July 21 through Thursday, July 24.
Hammerheads players will run the camp for children ages 5-14 of all skill levels. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon each day, and registration costs $125.
Matt Glaeser, Hammerheads development coordinator, assistant coach and goalkeeper, said the players enjoy being part of the community.
“The players enjoy being out in the community and working with kids,” he said. “Getting to hang out with fans and helping younger kids learn the game are some of the best parts of being a professional.”
The number of players working the camp will depend on the number of kids signed up, and they always try to keep at least a 12-to-1 ratio of kids to players, Glaeser said. The camp is already double the size of the first camp in June, and registration lasts until the day camp starts.
Glaeser said he hopes for 40 or more kids to participate. It is the Hammerheads’ third year instructing the camp at Wrightsville Beach Park, but Wrightsville Beach Park has been holding a soccer camp since 1993, said parks and recreation program supervisor Katie Ryan.
The camp will focus on many different skills such as dribbling, ball control, juggling, passing and shooting, Glaeser said, as well as conditioning and fitness. Each Hammerheads player will run different stations that focus on a particular skill, and kids will rotate through them in groups according to age and skill level. The camp will finish off each day with games and fun activities.
Glaeser, who is in his first season with the Hammerheads but has been playing since he was a young child, said he hopes to pass on his love of the game to spark interest in the kids who participate.
“I found the passion for it when I was young and stuck with it,” Glaeser said. “I hope I can pass on that joy and excitement. If you have that basic joy with the game, the skills and the rest of it come easier.”